A glimpse of labor

Journal . 2007

In a payroll system, two weeks is the standard unit of time that workers are paid for their labor. In the system, time is only money, and all labor is transformed into time. In order to calculate time into money, hourly workers record their working time on timecards everyday.

Time cards are an essential part of workers’ lives: they allow workers to get paid not only for hours worked but also for overtime, vacation time, sick time, personal time, and more. On timecards, I can see the time that workers worked, and the times that they were sick. I SEE the time as a number, but do not SEE the moments worked which represent their lives.

A payroll system based on two weeks reduces worker’s routine lives to a number, devoid of individual experience or meaning. This project is an attempt to see the meaning of repetitive labor in my everyday life and also some visual moments of labor that I have observed around RISD.

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 #01 Today     
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 #02 The quantity of time   the quality of work 
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 #03 The signifier of labor I   9:00 am, the break of custodians 
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 #04 the signifier of labor II   6:00 pm at au bon pain  
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 #06 The trace of labor   streets on sunday afternoon 
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 #07 The ghost of labor   past oriented